Star-studded “New York, I Love You” has substantial India connection

India associated filmmakers Golden Globe nominated Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth) and BAFTA nominated Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) are directing “New York, I Love You” along with nine others, including Oscar nominated Natalie Portman (Star Wars).

Suketu Mehta (Mission Kashmir) is one of the writers along with Golden Globe nominated Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation), Portman, and 18 others. Filmfare Award winner Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire) plays Mansukhbhai, while Gurdeep Singh (Love Comes Lately) is Badal, Vedant Gokhale (Body of Lies) is cab driver, and Himad Beg (The Accidental Husband) and Tanzeel Kayani (Anger Management) both play Indian Man. Divya Pathak (The King’s Daughter) is editorial intern.

Other cast includes Portman; Oscar winners Cloris Leachman (The Last Picture Show), Julie Christie (Darling), and Chris Cooper (Adaptation); Oscar nominated John Hurt (The Elephant Man), Ethan Hawke (Training Day), James Caan (The Godfather), Andy Garcia (The Lost City), and Burt Young (Rocky); BAFTA winner Shea LaBeouf (Transformers); Golden Globe nominated Hayden Christensen (Life as a House) and Christina Ricci (The Opposite of Sex); Bradley Cooper (The Hangover); Orlando Bloom (The Lord of the Rings); Cesar De León (Salud); etc.

Besides Kapur, Nair, and Portman, other directors include Fatih Akin (Auf der anderen Seite), Yvan Attal (Ma femme est une actrice), Allen Hughes (American Pimp), Shunji Iwai (Love Letter), Wen Jiang (Guizi lai le), Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace), Brett Ratner (Red Dragon), and Randall Balsmeyer (Between the Lions). Producers are Emmanuel Benbihy (True) and Marina Grasic (Flashbacks of a Fool). Kapur is directing LaBeouf, Christie and Hurt in his segment; while Nair is directing Portman and Khan; and Portman is directing De León and others. It is Portman’s directorial debut.

Acclaimed Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed says it shows that Indian cinema has come of age when cinematic talent connected to India is major part of an eclectic international team of filmmakers and an all-star cast.

Being released in USA on October 16 next, this 110 minutes Rated R romance film, a diverse tale of love, is a collective work of eleven short unrelated films of about ten minutes each shot in five boroughs of New York City in 36 days, bound together in a common motif of finding love. Tagline is “Every Moment…Love Begins”.

It follows “Paris, je t’aime” (2006) and future “Cities of Love” series reportedly will include “Shanghai, I Love You” (2010), “Jerusalem, I Love You” (2011), “Rio, Eu Te Amo” (2011); followed by Berlin, Buenos Aires, Rome, Timbuktu, etc. “Cities of Love” is a series of films showcasing universality of love in major cities of the world. Each film is a collective feature assembled of over ten sections filmed by international directors.

Rajan Zed, who is chairperson of Indo-American Leadership Confederation, has urged the makers of “Cities of Love” series to include Mumbai also, highest populated city of the world housing the largest film industry.

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